EXCLUSIVE: Mission: Impossible 5 scribe Will Staples has been set to write an untitled Warner Bros film about illicit animal trafficking that Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy are herding as producers, with the trio possibly looking to take onscreen roles in the ensemble. Staples was a writer of vidgames including versions of Call Of Duty and Need For Speed, who hit the Black List with King Of Heists (which Jeremy Renner is attached to. He is writing Myth at Fox for producer Lorenzo di Bonaventurea, and an untitled action vehicle for Ben Affleck to direct and star. Here, he will script a film that is described as a Traffic-like dissection of the trafficking industry that exploits the global market for illicit parts from slain animals that are used as aphrodisiacs and other ridiculous purposes. The film will have multiple strands spread around the world, tracing supply and demand for animals slain, stripped and sold for fortunes in places like China. The characters range from the back-room dealings of corrupt executives, to a portrait of the life of a poacher, to others involved in the underbelly of a global scourge that occurs not only in the jungles but also the oceans, where illegal shark fishing runs rampant.
Pic will be produced by Tobey Maguire‘s Material Pictures, Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Appian Way and Tom Hardy‘s Executive Options. Hardy, who’s about to pop big in Child 44 and Mad Max: Fury Road, is very passionate about this issue. Warner Bros is also developing a separate animal trafficking pic that Hardy is producing with Maguire and DiCaprio’s companies. This one is being written by Up In The Air co-writer Sheldon Turner and is a star vehicle for Hardy, who hatched the idea. The African-set drama calls for Hardy to play a former Special Forces soldier who signs on with a friend to work in the bush and trains rangers to battle poachers decimating the rhino and elephant populations in Zimbabwe. WME, Management 360 and Bloom Hergott rep Staples.